From promoting scientific research funding to supporting multilingual education, the LSA is active in a broad range of policy issues affecting language and linguistics.
LSA staff work with external organizations and internal groups to inform policymakers and opinion leaders about the important role of linguistics in benefiting the broader public. Members with an interest in policy issues are encouraged to stay informed and take part in the LSA's work.
Linguistics Research and Public Policy
Linguistics research has important implications for policies relating to K-12 education, national security, technology, health care, the judicial system, and many other critical aspects of everyday life. Linguists have worked closely with officials in state and federal agencies to help shape and inform their policies governing a wide range of issues.
The intersection between language and public policy is explored in a new section of the LSA's scholarly journal, Language. This section on Language and Public Policy welcomes submissions from LSA members whose research is focused on these intersecting issues.
Advocacy and Legislation
In recent years, the LSA has assumed a leadership role in the efforts of allied organizations to promote language documentation and revitalization work among tribal communities in North America, while also encouraging policymakers to support this work through related initiatives. The LSA frequently joins with other members of the scientific, humanistic and higher education communities in efforts to support and maintain federal funding for linguistics research, particularly via the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Department of Education. The LSA works to highlight the benefits of linguistics research and to share the need for policies that are informed by the latest studies in the field. More detailed information about the LSA's advocacy efforts on behalf of the humanities is available here.
In January 2016, the LSA organized its first-ever Advocacy Day in conjunction with its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Attendees conducted Congressional office visits on the day before or after the conference was held. We encourage linguists to meet with elected officials in their home districts as well to share information about the value of linguistics research to their community and the nation.
Over the years, the LSA has issued a series of statements, resolutions and endorsements on a range of policy issues relating to language and linguistics.
LSA Committees Active on Policy Issues
- The Committee on Public Policy is the leading membership body charged with advancing the LSA's position on a broad range of policy issues.
- The Committee on Language in the School Curriculum is active on education policies relating to language acquisition, bilingualism, and a range of related issues.
- The Ethics Committee has commented on federal regulations governing research protections for human subjects, and has also participated in discussions about human rights policy.
- The Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics has promoted efforts to advance affirmative action policies within higher education.
- The Committee on Endangered Languages and Their Preservation (CELP) is involved in the LSA's work to support the revitalization of Native American languages.
The LSA invites interested members to join one of these committees and/or get more involved individually on linguistic policy issues.
LSA External Partners on Policy Issues
The LSA partners with a diverse array of colleague organizations and coalitions to advance its policy agenda. For some organizations, the LSA has appointed official delegates and liaisons to enhance further collaboration. The organizations most active on policy issues affecting linguists include:
- National Humanities Alliance, read more about the work of the NHA on linguistics and the humanities here)
- Consortium of Social Science Associations
- Coalition for National Science Funding
- Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL-NCLIS)
- Coalition for the Academic Workforce
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
-- Policy & Advocacy
-- Coalition on Science and Human Rights
- Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences
- The Association of American Universities
Many of these organizations offer free electronic newsletters and action alerts on issues of interest to linguists, which LSA members may subscribe to directly by contacting these organizations.